Hotel geared to go the extra mile for guests

Capri by Fraser's general manager Vernon Lee (in white) with hotel guests (from left) Rosemarijn Kriek, John Maxwell and Santosh Kumar Podishetti, 29, before they set off on their tour of the Changi area. Mr Lee conducts such free, informal cycling t
Capri by Fraser's general manager Vernon Lee (in white) with hotel guests (from left) Rosemarijn Kriek, John Maxwell and Santosh Kumar Podishetti, 29, before they set off on their tour of the Changi area. Mr Lee conducts such free, informal cycling tours twice a week.PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Capri by Fraser's general manager Vernon Lee (in white) with hotel guests (from left) Rosemarijn Kriek, John Maxwell and Santosh Kumar Podishetti, 29, before they set off on their tour of the Changi area. Mr Lee conducts such free, informal cycling t
Mr Vernon Lee says that during the bike tour, he usually gives his guests little nuggets of information that are not found in guidebooks.PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

They can join free cycling tours or take bikes out on their own to explore

With the supply of hotel rooms growing, one hotel is hoping to stand out from the rest by offering an unusual and free tour.

Capri by Fraser at Changi City offers its guests cycling tours - led by its general manager.

Every Tuesday and Thursday at 5pm, Mr Vernon Lee, 38, takes a group of guests to explore the east coast of the island on bicycles for two hours.

The hotel, which also has serviced apartments, allows its guests, who are mostly here on business, to use any of its eight bicycles for free; they can go off on their own or join the tour.

Pit stops on the tour include the NEWater plant in Tanah Merah and the East Coast Lagoon Food Village where guests can sample local dishes such as satay bee hoon and bak chor mee.

FELLOW JOURNEYMEN

Life's about building relationships. It's a good way to get to know the staff and fellow guests.

MR JOHN MAXWELL, a Briton, who has been on the cycling tour three times

"Hardware-wise, a lot of hotels are similar. How do you differentiate yourself? By building a relationship with guests," said Mr Lee.

The Singapore Tourism Board said in February that 5,000 more rooms will enter the market this year from new hotels such as Park Hotel Alexandra and The Patina.

Mr Lee said that during the tour he usually tells his guests about his life in Singapore, such as his National Service days. "These little nuggets of information are not something you can find out from a guidebook," he said.

One guest, Mr John Maxwell, a British writer in his 40s who has been on the tour three times, said: "Life's about building relationships. It's a good way to get to know the staff and fellow guests."

And Ms Rosemarijn Kriek, 31, a bank manager from the Netherlands, said: "It's great to have someone take me around to not just where the tourists are but other parts of Singapore."

Another Changi hotel, Raintr33, which opened last December, also has bicycles that guests can use for free. It is planning night walks which will take in the old Changi hospital, among other places.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2015, with the headline 'Hotel geared to go the extra mile for guests'. Print Edition | Subscribe